Q: That doesn’t terrify you a little?
A: Of course it does. My wife is not afraid of death. The way Mormons handle death is extraordinary.
Q: You’ve been married, what, six times? Why did you get married to someone you weren’t in love with?
A: That is a good question. In two of them, I knew walking down the aisle, “This ain’t gonna make it.” I don’t know that I completely endorse the concept of the legalization of a relationship. I understand it for children—it is great for them. But you can still be a mommy and daddy without it. I think the legalization of it affects the relationship. It puts a third party in the mix: the state. I am probably, in that sense, a libertarian.
Q: What about an issue like pot?
A: I would legalize it, only because as Lenny Bruce said—Lenny was a friend of mine—“pot will be legal one day because every law student I know smokes it.” They like to say that it leads to harder drugs, but then you could say that milk leads to harder drugs. The more you think about it, it is almost insane to keep it illegal.
Q: Who taught you how to dress?
A: I lost a lot of weight after my heart surgery, and my ex-wife Sharon said, “You ever think about suspenders?” So I put them on one night, and when I got off the air—this was in Washington—some one in the control room said, “We got three or four calls saying that looks terrific.” That sold it.
Q: You must have a closetful of suit coats and jackets that have never been worn.
A: I’ve got suits I wear when I have to.
Q: So are you happier now than you have ever been, or were you perfectly happy back in the day, when you were Mr. Miami?
A: I think probably the happiest I ever was was when the Dodgers won the ’55 World Series. That moment I will never forget. That moment, that feeling, will never be duplicated. The night before I broke into radio? I will never duplicate that—that exultation. The birth of my daughter? Oh, my God. Running into the hospital to see her. That was a moment. But then there was hitting a race at Calder racetrack in Miami when I was totally broke and out of work. I walked into the track with $42, and I came out with $11,000. It was Lady Forli, at 70-to-1, and I hit the exacta, the trifecta, and the win. Fumes were going through my head—unreal. The birth of the two boys—those I attended. Sometimes happiness is waking up from open-heart surgery and having the nurse say, “You did great.” That was a pretty good moment too.
Q: What did you do afterward?
A: I took a walk in the streets of New York. December 8, 1987, and it was a beautiful, sunny day. I walked 20 blocks after having heart surgery. I stumbled into an OTB—it had been in all the papers that I had had heart surgery—and a guy comes over to me and says, “Hey, Larry, how you doing?” I say, “You know, I’m feeling pretty good. Thanks.” And then the guy says, “Okay. So who do you like?”